As Loudoun United prepares to send its first game-day roster of up to 23 players in to USL offices, two transactions occurred to help solidify the squad a bit. First, the club received defenders Donovan Pines and Akeem Ward, along with midfielder Antonio Bustamante, on loan from D.C. United. The trio of 21-year-olds will travel with Loudoun to play Nashville SC Saturday night.
It’s unclear where Bustamante will fit into Loudoun initially though I imagine he would get some looks on the left and centrally; recent signing Connor Presley is more of a right midfielder, and Shinya Kadono can play in the middle or as a forward. Pines would play centrally next to Harri Hawkins, and Ward could potentially play right back, opposite recent trialist and current Loudoun player Peabo Doue on the left. Given the current first team squad, Bustamante, Pines and Ward are the most likely to be loaned to Loudoun initially; Chris Odoi-Atsem may join the club for rehabilitation minutes as well, but expect a similar announcement each week.
Second, the club signed midfielder Noah Pilato to a 2019 contact. The 22-year-old attended open tryouts for Loudoun last month and trialed with the club, appearing in both scrimmages before signing. The central midfielder attended high school at Oakton (in Vienna) and was in D.C.’s Academy for four years before moving to Penn State. Pilato and the DC loanees total 16 players for Loudoun, who are playing a Nashville side some are saying is a favorite for the Eastern Conference title.
Kickoff is Saturday night at 8pm.